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Stress, Arousal & Fatigue Chapter 5. Aim To understand what stress is and what risks it presents for aviation safety. To learn what fatigue is and how.

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Presentation on theme: "Stress, Arousal & Fatigue Chapter 5. Aim To understand what stress is and what risks it presents for aviation safety. To learn what fatigue is and how."— Presentation transcript:

1 Stress, Arousal & Fatigue Chapter 5

2 Aim To understand what stress is and what risks it presents for aviation safety. To learn what fatigue is and how it can be managed

3 Objectives 1.To understand what stress is and the types of stress 2.To learn how we can avoid stress and how it can be managed 3.To learn what fatigue is and the causes 4.To understand what stressors we face as pilots

4 1. Stress What Is Stress Stress is a disturbing physiological or psychological influence on human performance that has the ability to impact adversely on the safe conduct of a flight or situation It is a process, not a diagnosis A natural reaction to a stressor Not all stress is bad Without stress, we wouldn’t be compelled to act or react to stimuli

5 1. Stress Types of Stress Acute stress Most common form of stress Immediate and disappears after a short time Thrilling and exciting in small doses Episodic Extended acute stress Taking on too much, always rushing, often late, overbooked, etc. Becomes the ‘norm’ after a while, ingrained in lifestyle Chronic Dangerous stress, leads to psychological and physiological illness Prevention is better than cure

6 1. Stress Types of Stress Stress normally starts at a level that most will cope with, however as it builds up without suitable rest, it can overwhelm E.g. A looming exam motivates you to study. A secondary assignment due around the same time with minimal notice may give you the kick to get working Subsequent workload may be managed, however any additional stressors (such as a relationship breakdown or personal crisis may critically limit one’s ability to cope)

7 2. Avoiding Stress Avoidance techniques As pilots, what can we do when we get stressed? Can we say ‘enough’ Avoidance is not an option. We cannot simply turn a blind eye or leave the stressful cockpit situation So, what can we do? Some typical avoidance techniques include: Lack of awareness (i.e. shutting off the brain and reverting to a gaze) Rationalisation Phantom illnesses Day dreaming Resignation Anger Substance-directed coping (e.g. drugs and alcohol)

8 Avoidance techniques We must be able to cope using acceptable means: Break the task down into a series of more manageable items Allow plenty of time – don’t get behind the aircraft Make early decisions Don’t let ATC direct you into an unsafe condition Don’t be distracted from checklists Don’t allow interruption or change to usual routine Ask ATC to standby (Aviate, Navigate, Communicate) Do not press on into unsafe conditions (e.g. weather or limited daylight) 2. Avoiding Stress

9 Arousal – stress as a motivator Stressors can increase arousal to prepare for action (e.g. a flight test) Other stimuli can decrease arousal and hinder performance (e.g. fatigue) Optimal arousal chart The curve shifts depending on the complexity of the task 2. Avoiding Stress

10 Coping with stress Exercise regularly - Some form of rigorous aerobic at least 20 minutes 3 times a week Avoid conflict - Where possible, avoid unnecessary arguments and conflict. Although ignoring a problem is not always the best way to reduce stress Assertiveness is fine but becoming distressed is not Relax - Allow time each day to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and do things you enjoy and feel relaxed doing Eat well - A nutritious diet is important. Fresh fruit and vegetables (avoid sweet and fatty foods) Sleep – Relaxing before sleep will help with sleep onset and quality Enjoy your life – If you’re not, Change It!

11 3. Fatigue Fatigue – A hindrance to health Fatigue is not the same as being tired Typical manifestations of fatigue include: Lack of awareness, diminished motor skills Tiredness (yawning, droopy head, hard to keep eyes open) Slow reactions and difficulty focusing Reduced efficacy of short term memory Tunnel vision Being easily distracted Poor instrument scan Increased mistakes, errors in judgement and execution Abnormal moods Fatigue can be minimised by managing workload effectively I.M.S.A.F.E. - to ensure you do not fly when fatigued

12 Sleep Everyone needs 6-8 hours sleep to function properly (regardless of age) As you age, sleep becomes less deep and therefore can be less refreshing Sleep deficit studies suggest that for every 2 hours of wakefulness, an hour of sleep is required (8hours sleep for 16hours wake) Sleep lost can only be fixed by more sleep, not energy drinks or caffeine 3. Fatigue

13 Sleep - Tips Exercise - Regular exercise benefits sleep, however should not be just before going to bed. Early morning or afternoon is best Snacks - a light snack before going to bed might help getting to sleep, unless it causes associated indigestion/gastric discomfort. Avoid heavy meals and caffeinated drinks before going to sleep. Warm milk has been shown to assist sleep onset Alcohol – Alcohol before bedtime may help with sleep onset, but it does not assist quality sleep. Alcohol disturbs the brain’s natural progression into deeper, beneficial sleep, also rendering you likely to wake in the middle of the night Ensure a sound sleeping environment – Minimise disruptions at bedtime, e.g. television, smartphones, reading. Ensure the bed and bedroom is comfortable 3. Fatigue

14 Caffeine Blocks the neurochemicals responsible for sleep onset, making one feel more alert Restricts blood vessels in the brain, reducing one’s performance Increases one’s performance in simple tasks and decreases performance in more complex tasks (i.e. flying an aeroplane!) 3. Fatigue

15 4. Stressors Environmental or physical Hot, cold, noisy, damp, dry, turbulent, vibrating, dark, light, smelly, lacking oxygen In extreme heat (over 35 degrees C), the body struggles to maintain homeostasis (trending toward hyperthermia). Perspiration, heart rate and blood pressure increase especially in humid conditions. Attention span reduces and one becomes stressed. Reactions to emergency may be limited or dangerous In cold environments, the body sends blood to the core rather than extremities to keep internal temp around 36.5degrees. Heat can be lost through: Exposed areas of skin, especially the head Wind chill Evaporation of sweat especially in dry environments In low temperatures, the body may shiver to generate warmth. Optimal temperature is between degrees C

16 Environmental or physical Vibrations can be uncomfortable, distracting and exhausting, especially when the vestibular system has to track the head movement In turbulence, movements are unpredictable and can cause sickness, further exacerbating the workload Noise can cause stress and fatigue. Attention is more difficult in higher noise environments, leading to added stress Airsickness is debilitating - IMSAFE Impaired vision or poor lighting requires more energy to focus, thus increasing fatigue 4. Stressors

17 Intellectual, psychological or emotional Relationships at home or work or other stresses can take priority of the limited mental space and decrease available energy for stressors. Over-arousal leads to performance detriment (tunnel vision)

18 Chapter 5 Questions?


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